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Microsoft IT

MS Partners Bailing Over Delays In Releases 121

Frosty Piss writes "A new study says past delays in Microsoft's products are causing some businesses to think twice about renewing the long-term service agreements that include rights to upgrade to future versions of its programs. 26 percent of the 61 IT professionals surveyed by Forrester Research said they had decided not to renew their Microsoft Software Assurance agreements when they expire, opting instead to buy the software as needed." Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.
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MS Partners Bailing Over Delays In Releases

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  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bladesjester ( 774793 ) <slashdot @ j a m ... l l ingshead.com> on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:18PM (#19821393) Homepage Journal
    The big question is whether they were asking IT people in large businesses, midsized, or small ones.

    I can see smaller businesses and some mid sized ones not renewing, but most of the larger ones will probably continue to do so because it's easier.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by plover ( 150551 ) * on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:53PM (#19821607) Homepage Journal
      I think the bigger question is "why is any /. reader suddenly believing anything from Forrester?" Usually they're spewing out the pro-Microsoft stance that most readers here seem to reject on principle, rather than fact. But now there's a research article that shows a trend away from Microsoft and it's suddenly gospel?

      As you seem to be implying, Forrester (and Gartner et al) take their surveys and extrapolate wildly, and not always with thought to the subject. I'd say this is as trustworthy a report as anything else they've produced -- which is saying pretty much nothing at all.

      • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:03AM (#19821665)
        It's not so much that anyone should believe this "report".

        They're in the business of whoring themselves out to whomever has the biggest wallet.

        That they're turning on Microsoft says more than their reports ever will. If they don't sell "reports", they don't get paid. So are more people looking to buy "reports" that do NOT favour Microsoft now? Has the market changed that much?
        • by jnnnnn ( 1079877 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:20AM (#19822065)

          It could just be that Microsoft hasn't bought any reports for a while, and Forrester want to encourage them a bit.

          Perhaps Microsoft is starting to think that these kinds of reports aren't worth it?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          You may not be cynical enough.
          Does MicroSoft need to have Forrester throw out the occasional counter-argument to head off some anti-trust allegation?
          That is the more paranoid question.
          • It's not because you're paranoid that they are not after you...
            • Wow. I can't figure out if that is really deep, or just a mangling of the famous Cobain quote. Either way, I like it :-)
              • It's like this joke...

                A user calls tech support, tech support asks for the password and the reply is *****

                There is silence and then the user asks: "I bet you can't tell if I'm really smart or really stupid".
      • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bladesjester ( 774793 ) <slashdot @ j a m ... l l ingshead.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:07AM (#19821687) Homepage Journal
        Indeed. The sample set is amazingly small and it says nothing in the article about the kind of places that they asked.

        Most larger places tend to be insane when it comes to getting large purchases approved. That's why a lot of them do the plans like this - the IT department only has to get it approved once instead of trying to convince the higher ups that they need to spend money every time a new operating system or office suite comes out. As a bonus, they also get support (which goes a long way in convincing the higher ups because it means that someone else can be held accountable if things go wrong).

        I also have to say that I must be the first case in the history of Slashdot where a first post has had a positive rating...
      • by Tim C ( 15259 )
        Because slashdot readers in general will believe anything that's anti-MS, no matter how tenuous, while rejecting out of hand anything that's pro-MS, no matter how solidly backed up.

        The big question, though, is why would anyone (other than MS) care how many or few businesses are renewing? What does it matter?
        • by mgblst ( 80109 )
          It is just logical really. If someone is a consistent Microsoft Shill, and even they start to see some problems, then this is valuable data, that can not be so easily dismissed as if it was another pro-Microsoft article. Why is this confusing for so many people.

          It is like you mate who likes all action movies, no matter how flimsy the plot. If even he doesn't like the latest Die Hard movie, that means it must really blow, not that it is not a good movie. Take things in context.
      • I think the bigger question is "why is any /. reader suddenly believing anything from Forrester?" Usually they're spewing out the pro-Microsoft stance...

        That's why. It's like Stallman saying something negative about OSS. If even the most die-hard advertiser of something starts criticizing it...
        • Stallman will never say anthing negitive about OSS he will just change the GPL Licence so who ever found a flaw cant use it anymore, if he doesn't like them, if they are a strong supporter and use that flaw there will be exceptons for him. TiVo = Bad, IBM = Good, yet they do the same thing. Just word the GPL in a way you don't seem like a hyprocrite.
      • Yeah. The story is really off.

        Twenty-six percent of the 61 information technology professionals surveyed by Forrester Research said they had decided not to renew their Microsoft Software Assurance agreements when they expire

        Microsoft questioned Forrester's findings. The report "only looks at a subset of our customers and is not consistent with the feedback we have received,"


        Microsoft's Sloane countered Forrester's findings by pointing out that about 75 percent of the company's Enterprise Agreement

    • Re:Question (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wawannem ( 591061 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:06AM (#19821681) Homepage
      Based on my experience with their agreements, I would imagine that they are cost-prohibitive to most small businesses. Their volume licensing agreements like Open Licensing (http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/programs/open/ default.mspx) are really meant to give customers some peace-of-mind when managing a large deployment. This program is meant for organizations with less than 250 workstations, but I can't see anyone seeking this sort of agreement unless they have over 100.

      What I would like to know, is how reliable this can be when only surveying 61 people. I mean, I know that statistics can be wrangled just about any way you want, but it doesn't seem to me to be very useful to ask such a small number. Before getting my hopes up that M$'s poor performance is finally being noticed by businesses, I will wait to see how their sales numbers look the next few quarters.

      • I agree with the cost with regard to smaller places. That's a lot of the reason I asked the question.

        As for it being a good deal for larger installations, Microsoft hated my alma mater for the deal we had with them. For the longest time, we pretty much had them over a barrel. Any student (all 20,000+ of them) or staff could borrow a copy of practically anything they made to install on their computer. If they wanted a copy of the media to keep, it cost like $10-20 depending on what they requested. That
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vtcodger ( 957785 )
        ***What I would like to know, is how reliable this can be when only surveying 61 people***

        It can be pretty good. IF the 61 people are truly representative of the larger population. If they had a list of every "IT professional" in the world with Microsoft Software Assurance contracts; picked 61 names at random; and made sure that they talked to each and every one of the 61, they'd probably get a pretty good number. But that's likely not what they did.

        I'm not an expert, but I believe that it's pretty w

    • If the BSA investigates you, you will have to cough up a LOT of "proof" that your licenses are legal. Even if they all are (and Microsoft makes it very easy to be out of compliance).

      Just having the original software isn't enough. That can be faked.

      Having the original software AND a receipt is not enough. You could have bought pirated disks and not known it.

      You MUST have the receipt from an APPROVED Microsoft reseller. Now, how do YOU know which resellers are approved?

      What happens if you don't have the recei
      • by Vancorps ( 746090 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:59AM (#19821967)

        I'm not sure, is this a troll? If so, well done sir!

        If not you clearly don't know how Microsoft licensing works. You don't keep or maintain proof you own anything. It's all registered through Elicensing on Microsoft's own site. If you buy from vendor A they put in the paperwork with Microsoft and send you a copy so that you can authenticate through the licensing site. From there you can download any licensed product and you have a full inventory of all licensing you have purchased all in one place, serialized, and even commented.

        Also, if you're a VL purchaser then you aren't activating Windows anyway as VL Windows XP at least doesn't require activation. With Vista there are a whole myriad of other options available even if they are more of a pain than with XP but don't kid yourself, there are a lot of options.

        As for compliance checking, that is easily accomplished with an on-sight database. Hell, make it a Debian box running mysql. A simple login script can query all the installed applications and write all the information into a central inventory. Alternatively you can use Microsoft products for compliance monitoring such as Operations Manager and Systems Management Server if you have the money for such products.

        Naturally there are plenty of open source compliance systems out there as well that make it perfectly easy to make sure you're not only in compliance with Microsoft but also Adobe and any other big software maker out there.

        I would be curious about the number of businesses the BSA has investigated that have an existing VL agreement with Microsoft. I don't think it's ever happened although I recognize that it could happen so I guess it doesn't make any difference.

        At any rate, genuine media is only a problem with Microsoft's retail products. OEM and VL products have different keys are difficult and/or pointless to fake in the case of a VL product since you can download the media yourself from the Eopen site.

    • I can see smaller businesses and some mid sized ones not renewing, but most of the larger ones will probably continue to do so because it's easier.

      I would think just the opposite: since larger businesses buy more software, they would have more to gain by cutting back. Also, large businesses are more likely to afford to dedicate someone to the task.

      • Re:Question (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bladesjester ( 774793 ) <slashdot @ j a m ... l l ingshead.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:27AM (#19821809) Homepage Journal
        Ever try to get approval for large purchases in a big business? It's a pain.

        If your choices are having to pitch it to the higher ups every time you need to upgrade operating systems/office suites and pitching one time to the higher ups this program where, for a fee, they never have to worry about hearing this conversation again, they get extra support when it's needed, and if anything goes wrong they have someone else to blame, I guarantee you that the better choice is generally going to be option 2.
    • by hemp ( 36945 )
      At large corporations, the software costs are minor when compared to the device support charges from outsource vendors such as EDS, ACS, etc. When you are paying $70-$140 a month to your vendor for support, $300 a year doesn't sound very bad.
    • but most of the larger ones will probably continue to do so because it's easier.

      For some another issue is surviving a BSA audit. No contract, disgruntled employees or ex-employees or union organizers,.. anybody.. With a plan, you get blanket coverage and the threat of a BSA audit seems to go away. You may be in complyance, but the potential shutdown and finding records for each package of software installed with recipts is expensive even if you are legal.

      A smaller shop with just a few machines can surviv
    • I don't think many companies renewed their deals because they didn't get anything for it. Vista took so long that many of the original Software Assurance licensees got NOTHING the entire time but the regular updates that were free. Now days everybody buys Dells or HPs with the OS installed. Regular rotation of PCs pulls the new OS in fast enough for most businesses. It's not like MS goes thru OS versions every 2 years anymore. Even currently the server licenses are so dramatic in price and hardware tha
    • Either way, it shows how lacking Microsoft is in delivering it's promise, and companies are starting to take action from it.
    • but most of the larger ones will probably continue to do so because it's easier

      Well, we do it 'cause it's cheaper, but easier helps, too. :)
  • Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.

    In fact, the businesses that signed up for lifelong contracts don't even call to complain anymore. And looking deeper, MS notices they're not calling at all!

    I think it's kinda like how I keep my old subscription to that one lame magazine because it's impossible to cancel.

  • is looking at Linux? I sure hope so, but I doubt that 74% of their customers can be that smart.
    • by ZachMG ( 1122511 )
      And people don't like playing text games as much. Linux: The World's Best Text-Adventure Game
      • have you tried Ubuntu: The Worlds Best point-and-click adventure game?
        • by ZachMG ( 1122511 )
          Why yes I have and at the moment I am using Mac OS X(yes on my Dell laptop): the worlds best operating system
          • Except it's illegal to use it on a Dell. The EULA restricts it to "Apple branded hardware".

            Still you could literally brand your Dell laptop with an Apple logo, cowboy style.
            • by ZachMG ( 1122511 )
              Have you seen the replacement "Designed for:" stickers that make it designed for Mac OS X? I got two and yes i do have appl written on electrical tape over the dell.
          • Does that make you semi-elitist, then?
    • by sharkey ( 16670 )
      Nope. The other 74 percent are renewing their MS agreements.
  • by GreatDrok ( 684119 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:31PM (#19821471) Journal
    Software Assurance was always a bad idea. It is clear that if you hand over the money before the work is done then they are far less likely to do the work as quickly as they would if you didn't pay until the work was finished. This is true in the real world (builders or decorators) so why shouldn't it be true with MS? They already have your money and so they don't really need to work hard. Companies should definitely tell them to stick it and buy as and when they feel the need to upgrade. Clearly very little of the software MS has produced since introducing SA6 has been of any value and I suspect the uptake would be much lower if people hadn't already paid up front. Don't be fooled twice is what I say, keep the money in your bank earning interest, not theirs.
    • This is true in the real world (builders or decorators) so why shouldn't it be true with MS?

      Microsoft policies have not historically been in sync with "the real world" so why should this be any different?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vancorps ( 746090 )

      It sounds like you've never been involved with the purchase of software assurance. Few companies pay it all up front and actually minimize the cash layout by spreading the payments out over three years. So 180k in MS software will result in 36k the first year, 50k the second year, and the remainder in the third year. Of course it all depends on how your company arranges the terms ahead of time.

      With that said you have a point about software assurance being a bad idea but the ability to upgrade and down gra

    • by LoadWB ( 592248 ) * on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:36AM (#19822133) Journal
      Unfortunately Microsoft is beginning to move a lot of licensing functionality into SA to make it almost a requirement. For instance, look up the licensing for Office 2007 in conjunction with a Terminal Server, or the use of Office 2003 licensing for Office 2007 on Terminal Server. And charity licensing now gives you home use rights for your licenses, if you purchase SA.

      Software Assurance is bullshit, frankly. It just a way for Microsoft to squeeze extra money out of its customers with the promise of a "free" upgrade to the next version, IF the next version is released within the SA period. Think about all the poor schmucks who bought a three year SA with Office 2003 upon release (or was only two years available then?)

      All the while, by the way, Microsoft is sticking it to OEMs with stupid requirements. For instance, system builders who sell Office 2007 are not allowed to distribute 2007 media: they are required to provide some sort of recovery system to the user. And OEM licensing is no longer adequate for most usage purposes (like the TS example above.)

      And now that people aren't buying Vista and Office 2007 in the numbers Microsoft wanted, we will soon be required to buy nothing but! Once stock of Office 2003 runs out in the channels I will no longer be able to offer this to my customers who do not like Office 2007, as MS has discontinued Office 2003 in the OEM channels. Windows XP will be gone sometime around January, 2008.

      How many people would have been pissed if Windows 2000 and Office XP suffered the same fate? So is this Microsoft's way of not committing the same mistake before of supporting older generation software, or is this just a way of cramming shit down our throats? IMHO, so long as a product is still in mainstream support, I should be able to obtain said product. IIRC, Windows XP Pro SP2 is EOL in 2010.

      And what about Office 2003 SP3 which has been announced and is supposedly in testing? This will contain back-ported features from Office 2007. Will it bring "ribbons" which 90% of my surveyed users hate (ah! statistics!) and make it so there is no option for "classic" menu styles?

      I will not be moving to Vista any time soon. I've used the betas and release candidates, and I am not impressed. There are some neat things under the hood, but the gains balance the loses in my experience. And I just principally abhor kuldgy, klunky DRM and other restrictions. I received Vista Business in my Action Pack, and it has gone and will continue to go unused.

      I was excited about Windows XP because it represented a MASSIVE shift in technology, usability, and stability over Windows 2000. (And many people will debate this, but I refuse to argue against my experience.) I was excited about Server 2003 for a lot of the same reasons. It really seemed like Microsoft was listening to us. I went to the training and free seminars and demonstrations. But now it seems as though Microsoft took a little exception to being told by its customers what they want, and now instead tell the customers what they can have, period.

      And this is a take-it, no leave-it, situation. Many of us rely upon software which requires Windows to run, and at the same time have no IT budget to investigate alternative methods. In the end, we will still need Windows somewhere.

      I grow weary of Microsoft's crap. Every time I turn around I feel like I am its whore for pushing its product. To be fair, Windows XP and Server 2003 have been great products for me to support. But licensing and upgrades by attrition is just too much anymore.

      I am working to move out of this part of the industry soon. I would rather do server and network administration, and disaster recovery and risk assessment, anyway. This is far less complicated and easier to stomach than Microsoft software licensing and force-fed controls.

      Keep on trucking, Microsoft. Like Rome, you shall fall; you will learn the lesson of IBM. You can only screw your customers for so long before they revolt. O
      • by igb ( 28052 )

        look up the licensing for Office 2007 in conjunction with a Terminal Server
        Could you expand on that? Does this mean that one-off purchases of Office 2007 can't be used on Terminal Server?


        • Could you expand on that? Does this mean that one-off purchases of Office 2007 can't be used on Terminal Server?

          Terminal services can operate in 2 modes. It admin mode it acts like remote desktop. You can get to any application this way without special licensing. It presents you with an entire remote desktop.

          In Application mode it's configured to send a single window to the remote user. It basicly allows them to see a window as if it were running no thier local computer, but is actually installed and

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )
        You could refuse to carry 2007.

        Just sayin'

        Yeah, I would debate you the XP is better then 2000...but then I have done many thousands of hours of testing with both.
        XP at release was better then 2000 at release, but after sp2 it was the same.
        And I still see more over head with XP when transfering files then with 2000.
        That minor issue aside, both are giving pretty much the same stability, so why change?

        As for the innovation, yeah, it's very stale right now. There a a few reasons that I believe are causing this:
    • Does it benefit the customer? No. Odds are the customer is not going to get a new release in the timeframe of the agreement. Does it benefit Microsoft? Yes. The customer is paying Microsoft for something Microsoft is not obligated to deliver... ever. Previously, Microsoft had to bring out a new product to make money and the quicker the better. With software assurance, they can take their sweet time about it with customers still paying them money. Kudos to Microsoft for finding another way of making money
  • Perhaps they simply feel that the software assurance makes no sense when the actual software releases are steps behind the OS releases. The only thing keeping them instep is microsoft's cutting ties of backwards compatibility. Bravos IT managers.
  • by Zashi ( 992673 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:32PM (#19821485) Homepage Journal
    I don't think microsoft will ever admit what it hears from it's customers.

    They certainly won't admit to what they've heard from me.

    • Or maybe its because people are just telling them what they want to hear [rcpmag.com]
      • Regardless of the legitimacy of the study, MS most certainly is not hearing anything bad from their customers.

        There are some conversations that are just not worth having, and telling a saleperson that you don't plan on renewing your contract because you haven't received the expected value from it is definately one of them. Depending on how big of a client you are, telling MS that they just aren't worth it could mean hundreds or even thousands of hours of them calling to explain again why the only way you

  • by cybrthng ( 22291 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:36PM (#19821511) Journal
    Because in the long run over other supported contracts its more affordable. Its not just a license but a pretty robust support infrastructure that is included in your pricing and scales well for businesses large and small and more times than not is cheaper than retail pricing.

    Just my experience. Software Assurance is more like the commercial linus world where the value is the service & support rather than the actual software - as it is to more businesses than not.

    Cost of the software itself is very little of the ultimate price at the end of the day. (not claiming its absolute, but very true more than not)
  • by pavera ( 320634 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:36PM (#19821515) Homepage Journal
    If you read the article, in the last paragraph it quotes the MS representative thus: "Microsoft's Sloane countered Forrester's findings by pointing out that about 75 percent of the company's Enterprise Agreement customers are renewing those pacts." Well, if only 75% are renewing, doesn't that mean 25% aren't??

    And the forrester report said 26%. I bet that's inside the margin for error of the survey.
    • by catwh0re ( 540371 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:49PM (#19821589)
      The agreements provide value when taking into account two factors:

      1. Microsoft release new software in the timeframe of the agreement.
      2. Microsoft release upgrades that are worthwhile purchasing in that same time frame.

      Since many companies don't really need upgrades (MS tend to roll out new ideas into new products, while giving lack lustre upgrades to existing products.) The only thing really pushing along MS upgrades is the fear falling so far behind in windows versions that MS stop releasing patches for them. (How many companies do you know that still believe windows 2000 was their peak?)

      With numerous delays in Vista and the final product not having too much benefit over it's predecessor, it comes as no surprise that companies can't justify paying for another go on the merry-go-round.

      • Just a side curiosity about the article..
        "Note: Figures do not add up to 100% because of rounding."
        How is "rounding" an excuse for why the pie graph doesn't add to 100%? (It adds up to 99%)
        • 31.2 + 26.2 + 18.2 + 13.2 + 11.2 = 100

          Round to the nearest whole number:
          31 + 26 + 18 + 13 + 11 = 99
          • Ok, apparently cranking out the real numbers wasn't that time consuming.

            19 undecided. 19/61 = 31.148
            16 will not renew. 16/61 = 26.230
            11 will selectively renew. 11/61 = 18.033
            8 will probably renew. 8/61 = 13.115
            7 will definatly renew. 7/61 = 11.475

            All those percentages round down, yet (to 3 sig figs) add up to 1.001
        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by mgblst ( 80109 )
          Thank you for exposing your stupidity, and the lackluster mathematical courses in high school/ primary school/ pre-school these days. Adding numbers is hard, isn't it!
    • by cybrthng ( 22291 )
      For a value add service a 75% return rate is pretty darn good. Its not like they stopped selling it and aren't gaining new market share either.

      Software assurance includes more than just future proofing license/versions, it has support, infrastructure, recovery, home use, licensing, discounts and many other options/features.

      with more choices of software assurance out there (much akin to Linux Support offerings) i think competition is heating up and everyone is getting a better value today than they did when
      • by pavera ( 320634 )
        I'm not trying to say anything about the value of software assurance, I haven't looked at it, I have no clue if its a good deal, what it costs, anything.

        I just thought it was funny that in MS's rebuttal of the survey, they completely confirmed it.

        In the article MS says "this isn't what we are hearing from our customers, we don't think 26% are leaving us, this report isn't representative of our customers", then 4 paragraphs later they say "25% are leaving." I just thought it was hilarious that they so fully
    • by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
      Well, if only 75% are renewing, doesn't that mean 25% aren't??

      And the forrester report said 26%. I bet that's inside the margin for error of the survey.

      The truth is, whoever paid for the long-term service already was screwed and there's no way back. Now Microsoft will capitalize on the technology it produced for Vista (some released with Vista, some with Server 2008, and some will remain in beta for some time yet) and churn out updates faster.

      My point being, those 75% aren't necessarily happy with the deal,
  • buwahahahahahaha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:44PM (#19821545) Homepage
    Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.

    Microsoft owes me a new keyboard :(
    Between that and "The next version of Office will be worth the wait!" or "Longhorn will be out in Q4 2005, we promise!", I sprayed coke all over my monitor and keyboard...

    Software assurance lately hasn't really been worth a damn to businesses. There are more than a few legacy apps that don't work in Vista and few businesses are switching. I know of at least one Microsoft Vista call center that is staying on XP for call logging and business stuff (they give a second pc to techs to play with / walk customers through stuff)

    Office 2007 might look different with its magical little orb, but you'd have a real hard time justifying the purchase if you had to pay for an upgrade in a medium sized office at $250+ a seat. Getting it for "free" makes it slightly more attractive, but the downside of retraining employees is still scary for a bunch of businesses - especially when the 2007 file format pack is a pretty small install.
    • by Bri3D ( 584578 )
      On the other hand, many development companies (including the one I'm working for) are forcing their developers to use Vista at work so that the next generation of their application is assured to work with Vista without screwing around after QA realizes there are 1000 stupid little Vista bugs.
      Production end-user environments are sticking with XP because it works and doesn't require insane hardware, development environments are going Vista. I'm guessing this is where a lot of Microsoft's enterprise Vista sale
  • by bhmit1 ( 2270 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:46PM (#19821569) Homepage
    I'm not MS fan (I have linux running on everything where I have a choice), but because of customers that use various MS products, it seemed cheaper when starting my business to subscribe to their Action Pack Subscription (MAPS). They give you more than enough licenses for all the major products (office, server, workstation, visio, maps, etc) which is perfect for reading those files that customers send without forking over the big bucks up front. You have to pay over $300 yearly, which if they were releasing often, it would make sense.

    But I'm about to approach the point where purchasing everything outright makes more sense, and they still haven't sent me anything more than a beta for Vista. So if my customers want me to support them, either I'm using a beta to do so, or I have to fork out the cash even though I'm subscribing to MAPS. This may be the last year I renew my subscription unless they have a lot of new software entering the pipe. The worst part is should I cancel, I'm guessing the MS police will be knocking to verify that I don't have anything unlicensed still in use, which I wouldn't, but my time does equal money.
    • If the Microsoft police come knocking on your door just tell them to fuck off. They are not a police force no matter what their fancy t-shirts and jackets have printed on them.

      OK, so maybe it's not that simple. I doubt that they can take you to any criminal court. They'd have to take you to civil court to make you cough up anything. Would they bother? Perhaps, just to make an example. Even then I would think that "innocent until proven guilty" should apply.

      I am not a lawyer. I'm just ranting because
      • by bhmit1 ( 2270 )
        You're right that I have the right to ignore their request. But I'd rather spend 15 minutes saying "look, there's nothing here" than hire a lawyer, spend a day in court, risk having them demand copies of all my harddrives and a legal search of my property. Sadly, there are many cases in the world where it's easier to let someone violate our rights than it is to do what's right.

        To give another example, my father is also a small business owner and was forced to have 2 or 3 days down while the local governme
        • To give another example, my father is also a small business owner and was forced to have 2 or 3 days down while the local government audited his business.

          When governments do that it usually means they're on a fishing expedition (obviously, twenty bucks for three days of an auditor's time is not a reasonable exchange) and were using the license as an excuse. Either that, or they were trying to set some kind of an example to other businesses ... give us our juice money or we'll screw you out a few days ear
  • by Dr_Art ( 937436 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:47PM (#19821575) Journal
    Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.

    Microsoft: You're not going to bail on me are you? You love me don't you?
    Customer: No, I wouldn't do that. You're really "nice".
    Microsoft: You mean it? I mean, you're not still upset with me about the chair throwing thing, right?
    Customer: Of course not. I mean, I'm still using you on some of my desktops...
    Microsoft: So why are you still using XP? You hate me, right?
    Customer: Er, uh, well, uh, we were planning on upgrading but we've been a little busy with our Linux migration in the data center and all, and, uh, well would you look at the time! I've got to get going. I'll see you soon...
    Microsoft: See, he really does love me! That darned study is just not representative of him!

    Tune in tomorrow for the next episode of MS-in-de-nial...
  • by Captain Sarcastic ( 109765 ) * on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:53PM (#19821609)
    When Windows 95 came out, lots of companies and individual users were leery of switching over from their working-just-fine Windows 3.11 systems. I remembered seeing a demo of Windows 95, and someone was asking whether they could disable the animated graphic display that played during the file copy process.

    Microsoft has a long history of, well, "stubbornness" isn't too harsh a term. NT 3.1, Bob, and ME were all products that didn't make the grade as far as most people were concerned. However, they kept marketing them while they worked on replacement technology and/or service packs. Thus, we got NT 3.5, Windows 98 SE, and Windows XP, which all simply ran into the "new product" glitches and bitches.

    I honestly think that Microsoft will just keep on marketing Vista until they get at least one service pack, and possibly two. At that point, they'll either have shaken out most of the bugs that people are complaining about, or will come up with a different package, a different name, a different UI, and call it a "brand new" product.

    Is Microsoft hurting? Perhaps, but I don't believe they've been sending out large numbers of pink slips to their employees. Are people looking at alternatives? Yes, but many of them are either going to sit tight and hope that XP will last long enough until either Vista SP 2, because they have too much of an investment in existing technology to feel comfortable (rightly or wrongly) with anything else.
  • Forrester: ~25% of your partners won't renew their contracts!

    Microsoft: Blatant lies! ~75% of our partners will renew it!
  • A definition of "Software Assurance": Mirco$oft's assured we'll keep using their crap until we get a brain.
  • i don't know (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mistahkurtz ( 1047838 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:35AM (#19821847)
    if i buy it.

    i work in corporate IT sales, and it simply seems that this survey was done almost immediately after a major desktop OS and office suite release. it seems to me that many companies, especially in the SMB market would be more inclined to not renew SA now, and purchase it in the future before the next major releases. this seems to be consistent with what i've seen with my customers, some of who have opted to not renew SA on desktop OS and office, however renewed SA on server 2003, with the release of server 2008 on the horizon.

    anyway, plenty of companies are still renewing their EA and Select and MOV agreements, whether they truly need all the features or not. remember, you get a lot more than free upgrades w/ SA.

    my $.02
  • Microsoft will have to offer more than upgraded versions, but it's caught in a conundrum. It can't charge for patches since its near-monopoly means that not offering patches free creates a disaster of socialized cost. But it can't make money just charging for upgrades. Look for support contracts and subscriptions to merge soon!
  • "Customers also want our Software Assurance products!"

    Like fucking hell they do.
  • What Microsoft hears from its customers probably involves a lot more profanity.
  • if this year and next year 75% only of the customers renew their subscription, then they have lost 43.75% of their customers (100-0.75^2*100)
    if the next year they lose another 25%, then 57.8125% are gone (100-0.75^3*100)
    if the next year they lose another 25%, then 68.359375% are gone (100-0.75^4*100), more than two thirds
    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      They're not losing their customers. They're only losing subscribers to their software assurance program, which probably wasn't much to begin with, since people complained strongly about it from day 1. The only worthwhile software subscription MS has is MSDN.

      Software Assurance sucks, cuz it puts MS in a serious conflict of interest. So all it means is that they'll go back to a more reasonable model. Which I can't wait for.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @04:49AM (#19822955)
    If I planned to cancel a subscription, the one I subscribe to would be the LAST to know until it's time to sever the bonds. First of all, it saves me from the constant pestering from their marketing dept. to get me back on board for longer. And second, how inclined are you to support a customer that already declared very clearly that he's not going to be your customer much longer?
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      "And second, how inclined are you to support a customer that already declared very clearly that he's not going to be your customer much longer?"

      If the marketing and sales have any say, they would support you better then anyone else.

      That's the good plan. It increases that a customer will change their minds, and if they don't, the customer won't have any fresh bad stories when the bond is severed.

      I don't care how certien you are, no good sales person will believe it is absolute, not matter what you tell them.
  • It's not Microsoft partners that are balking. It's Microsoft's customers. There's a big difference.
    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      glad someone else caught that. I wonder if you are somehow sucked into their world( parnership ) when you sign a deal for that Microsoft Software Assurance crock? I can see the insiders at Microsoft now. Right after they sign another sucker, they throw a big party, lots of people milling around the cake doing air-fishing and some with a curled index finger yanking on the inside of their mouth/cheek. Someone in PR probably came up with the idea of calling them partners since it'll give them a sense of belong
  • I work for a major international food and beverage company. We are planning a vista migration from XP SP2 within the next two years. However, we are not renewing our corporate windows licensing, but rather acquiring many keys with each new computer that we order now. By the time we roll out Vista, we will have about 27,000 keys.
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:55AM (#19824153)
    Many shops I know that buy SA rationalize their purchase claiming "support costs are lower".

    It has been my experience that those shops need to make the support calls because they deployed a "bleeding-edge" product. (Bleeding-edge is defined as any microsoft product before service pack 1)

    The IT shops that I have traditionally run do not buy SA. My strategy is simple - WAIT. Why do you need Exchange 2007 server RIGHT NOW? Is Exchange 2003 really not up to the task?

    I've had success deploying products late in the software cycle. This gives Microsoft time to fix the bugs (and update the knowledge base), it gives ISVs time to support Microsoft's new product, and when something does go wrong that we can't solve in-house, we just pay the $250 per incident.

    This also gives me the leverage to beat up my Microsoft representative when a new product does come out. The product must have added value or we don't buy.

  • If MS sees too many of their customers jump ship on SA then they will just come out with the next version that includes guaranteed upgrade rites to the next version even if it happens after the contract is over. Until then they will just laugh at all the suckers.
  • Uhm, not really (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NTT ( 92764 )
    I believe that line should read:

    Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it wants to hear from its customers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    IBM offers their clients a free service were they analise your ELA and give you some pointers on how to save money. Obviously most pointers will be in the form of "replace MSSQL with DB2" but many of the recommendations are to replace software like MS Office with opensource equivalents. When the time comes to renegotiate your ELA you can get a better deal by showing that you dont "need" the ELA . Its free and worth a try.
  • Headline should be (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @11:49AM (#19826027) Homepage Journal
    IT departments regain some sense.

    It was stupid agreement for any consumer to sign. MS tried to sell it like an IOMN service level agreement;which would explain why some companies thought it was a good idea. The IT departments failed to take into account MS's track record and the fact that they will cut support for older software with little notice.

    FYI 18 Months it too short of a notice, 30 months is more appropriate.
  • by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:44PM (#19829221) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.

    Of course it is, but "With a gun in your mouth, you only speak in vowels".

    Same thing though it sounds different.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.